Candy Palmater on the freedom that comes with letting go of books

The comedian speaks with Shelagh Rogers about her love of collecting books — and how she cut her collection in half.
Candy Palmater is a former lawyer, writer, comedian, actor and broadcaster and was a Canada Reads panellist in 2017. (CBC)

Candy Palmater is a former lawyer, writer, comedian, actor and broadcaster. The former Canada Reads panellist is also an avid reader with a huge book collection — which she recently had to cut in half when she moved to Toronto.

This segment originally aired on Oct. 16, 2018.

Culling books

"I had over 12,000 pounds of stuff and 8,000 pounds of it was books. When I got here, I realized how small living space is in Toronto. Then I came to terms with the fact that I'm going to stay in Toronto for some time and I'm not going to be able to buy a $5 million condo that I can fit all my books in. I came to the realization that they were getting damaged in storage and I should let them go free into the world. I cut my collection, I would say, by about 50 per cent — I culled about 400 books. I have about 500 left, but the decision making process was very, very difficult. In a lot of ways, it was painful going in, but I do feel somewhat free."   

Don't always finish what you start

"I have a hard time not finishing a book that I've started and not reading a book that I've bought. At 48, I'm realizing time is not infinite. I need to have time to read all the books I want to read. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I didn't realize how horrible that book was going to be because it was everywhere. I bought all three, and of course I got maybe 50 pages into the first one and I was having a migraine thinking, 'I cannot believe I have to finish this book.' I finished the first one and I didn't want to let go of the other ones, but in the purge I said, 'I didn't read them, but those are going.'"

Candy Palmater's comments have been edited and condensed.